Monday, April 29, 2013

Crazylegs 2013

Dad, me and Jason prerace. Photo: Patti
After training for his half marathon for Lifestriders, my Dad wanted to give racing another whirl. We had recently reconnected with my Dad's cousin, Patti, through running and she was going to be running as well. We had done Crazylegs in the past back in 2008 (45:09).  My husband (39:33) had done it with me (37:17) in 2011. We all decided that we wanted to better our times from the previous runs. 
Actually to be honest Jason wanted to beat me.  I didn't want to be beat, yeah we are competitive like that sometimes. I had only run one time since my marathon last Saturday, so I was unsure how my legs were going to respond. 
I started back with Jason's wave start, so that we could hang out together before and so that we could start our "race" together. Our wave started about 13 minutes after the official start. Jason got off to a better start, dodging people left and right. I stayed behind him for a minute or so while we jostled, letting him think he was beating me. Soon though, I slapped him on the behind and cruised past. My first mile came in at a 6:47 which is pretty much a sprint for me. I wanted to maintain my pace as best I could, but knew I couldn't keep that I tried to calculate what I would need to do to beat 2011's time. At the turnaround I saw Jason, he was looking good, and not as far behind me as he had been the previous year. The rest of the race was holding on to pace as best I could. Taking in the sights and sounds, and finally heading into Camp Randall. I heard them say my name, as I came down the field. Stopped my watch and yes! I beat my time (36:06). I waited for Jason to finish, and knew he had beat his time, too (37:30). 
Post race refreshment
Jason and I 
We went up to the stands where my mom was with the girls.  I was watching for my dad when I saw Rachel finish! She came over where we were, and we went to grab our beers. Rachel went to find Linda and bring her back with beers in tow.  It was great to see the two of them again.
Linda, Rachel, and I 
We waited for my Dad to finish and he did beating his time from before as well (46:20)! Patti and her son, Ryan, join us, and she beat her previous time, too!  Success!  
B: Dad, me and Jason F: Ryan and Patti
Dad and Mom
Favorite sign was something along the lines like this: You think you're tired, don't worry you have the same # of Tour de France titles as Lance Armstrong does.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Blue Ridge Marathon Recap-Part 2

Ready or I come!
 Yes I am fully aware that my first recap of the Blue Ridge Marathon had no talk of the actual running of the said marathon.  I'm here to remedy that and redeem myself with this post. I hope. 

My morning shuttle had a mix of other runners, previous BRM runners and newbies like myself.When discussing strategies of the hills I mentioned that some people said to walk up the steep incline. Whereas the one lady in the shuttle replied, "I don't walk races." Ok. And she was one who had done the half before and done well. I was really not sure what I was going to do...only time would tell.
BRM stick for Boston, put on my bib.

At the City Market I waited for a bit with my hotel peeps until I found Angie and Krissy.  We eventually headed outside with Nicki and Josh as well. Unfortunately, I checked my long sleeve I was going to throw away, and was a little cold for the start.
We held a moment of silence for Boston, and it was go time. The first mile ticked off pretty quickly I was around an 8 minute mile, which was good that I didn't fo out too fast which is my norm.  Very quickly we were already heading uphill, there was no honeymoon period in this race, it was BAM hard. Right away.
I ran most of the first part of the first mountain, as did most of the others around me. I'm not a runner who remembers specifics of miles and details, because they all blur together.  This is what my brain hasn't blocked, I couldn't believe that miles would tick by and they were either all uphill or all downhill.  Or you would think that you were to the top of a hill because there was a flat portion, but the reality around the corner was a steep incline. I soon went to the strategy of speed walking up major inclines. I noticed the people running really were not going that much faster, and the mantra I kept thinking was that I had to conserve for the long haul. My left calf really was hating the downhills, and I wanted FLAT so bad, just so I could pick up the pace.  I remember conscouisly thinking when the terrain was moderate, that ok, now it's time to really run.

Photo: Kemper Mills Fant Photography

Photo: Kemper Mills Fant Photography
No matter what I tell myself, part of me is always a racer, so I would always have someone that I would keep my eye on that I didn't want to get out of my sight.  Sometime it worked, I would reel them in, other times, they would get out of sight. After passing people back and forth usually we'd check in with each other to see how they were feeling. It was nice on turnarounds to get a thumbs up or a nod from these people. Josh was on a bridge cheering after he PR'd his half!  Woot-woot!

Photo: Kemper Mills Fant Photography
There really were hills throughout this whole course, even after we were out of the mountains. I remember seeing a parked car around mile 23ish with the both the Marine Corp emblems and USMC. That is what I needed to kickstart my mind to think of my brother and the recent victims who had lost a leg. I dug down and wanted to get it done. I did, and I was happy.  As I came across the finish, I put my hand over my heart as had been requested. As the race organizer shook my hand, that smile radiatated throughout my whole body.

Finish SMILE! Photo: Kemper Mills Photography
I was able to see Paul at the finish and see how his race went, he rocked it! David and I reconnected, and as we waited for Nicki and Angie we got to talk with Bart Yasso a bit. He is such a great ambassador for the running community. His personality, charm and charisma makes you proud to be a runner, he does his job well. I love this candid that was snapped of us. (see more)

Bart, David and I waiting for our friends. Photo WDBJ7
I'm thankful that we did hang out with Bart for a bit, because he let me know after the awards ceremony that I placed in my age group. Wait. What?!  I was pretty sure he was wrong, but then again I didn't really want to argue with Bart Yasso, so I went back up to the awards area, and hot damn, he was right!
Getting my 3rd place age group award
How freaking cute is this!?!
I really was blown away by this, and knew then it was time for a beer to celebrate. Devil's Backbone was a local brewery so I had to try their 8 Point IPA and Congo Pale Ale. Delish. Finally, we all made plans to meet up for dinner later in the evening. The rest of the night proved to be fabulous. I went to Roanoke knowing noone, and now can't wait to reconnect with these amazing people at race(s) in the future!
The star, the night, the weeknd shines!
America's Toughest Road Marathon? Yes!!!!! Would I do it again? Y'all better bet your sweet tea I would.
Age Group-3/24

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Blue Ridge Marathon Recap-Part 1

All good things must come to an end.
A picture is worth a thousand words.

That is the best way to start this post. There is no way I can describe the last weekend in words, but I'm going to do my best.
First of all last Monday was the Boston Marathon...this was my morning Tweet:
I like many others, tracked runners from the elites to my friends I knew running. And then...
I was saddened, scared, and upset. I've read so much and have heard so many different perspectives, but am just happy that the running community is just that.  A community, a family, a group that rallies together through tough times. We will forever have that fighting spirit that makes us unstoppable, resilient and strong. Together. 
*just a quick note to say that all my friends were safe, one was within 100 feet of the second bomb, I am so thankful for their safety and my prayers to all affected. 

That being said, I didn't really focus too much on my Saturday race like I normally would have. I flew out of Wisconsin early Friday morning. I arrived in Roanoke, Virginia, and as I flew in I saw mountains and I realized...this shit was getting real...I was going to run a marathon in the mountains.

After checking in I hopped on my shuttle downtown. I loved the feel of the town. We Mid-westerners pride ourselves on our manners, but southern hospitality was over the top, people were so friendly and chivalry is not dead. I grabbed lunch at On the Rise Bread I had their two-cheese veggie sub. I goofed up and forgot to cancel the mayo, but it was so good, I didn't even notice. I walked around town doing some window shopping, going into different shops, just taking it all in. 
I went to packet pick-up early, got to snag my picture with the Legends, Living Legends as they prefer:
Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, me, Bart Yasso
I spent a bit more time downtown before heading back to my hotel.
Cuban coffee from Habana Cafe like espresso, but sweet.
The star on top of the mt I was going to run up.

Gear all ready before I head out to to pasta dinner.
I arrived at the pasta dinner, and met up with the David from #RunChat and Nicki, Angie, Josh, and Paul, other #RunChat peeps. 
Angie, David, me and Nicki: photo by Josh (borrowed from David)

At the pasta dinner we were again reminded of how hard the course was going to be. (Thank you very little.) We were put into perspective on Boston as Frank Shorter spoke of being in the Munich Olympic village in 1972, sleeping on his balcony as he heard the shots. What Frank, Bart, and Bill said in all is that now is the time to keep running, and now is the time to focus forward.  Runners are tough and together, and as Bill Rodgers inscribed in my book "Let's Run Forever." 
I arrived back at my hotel and heard the door close on the second suspect, I was relieved, ready to go to bed, and I was ready to run.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Lifestriders Trailbreaker Half Marathon Guinness Book Record!

Life-the sequence of physical and mental experiences that make up the existence of an individual; spiritual existence transcending physical death
Strider-to stand astride,to move with or as if with long steps

As with many things in life, a person is often presented with many chances to make choices.  Sometimes these choices are insignificant. What to wear, what to eat, when to go to bed...what happens when some of the basic choices we take for granted are taken away from us. For example the ability to move freely on our own.  Maybe an accident takes away those abilities maybe we were born that way.

Last Saturday I had the opportunity to run as part of Team Lifestriders.  Lifestriders is a non-profit organization that provides life-enhancing, physical and psychological experiences and services, to individuals with special needs. Through Equine-Assisted Therapy, children and adults can experience the beneficial physical and mental benefits achieved through the human-horse connection.

Our team raised money to for Lifestriders while attempting to break the Guiness book of World Records for the most people tethered together while running a half marathon. On top of all this awesomeness I recruited my Dad to partake with me.  My 66 year young father who has never run a half marathon before.  Squeeeee! I mean seriously, how cool is that!?!  

I sometimes cannot stop talking but trying to sum this up in words is tough. So when all else fails I go for a quirky silly poem...
Running together
In more ways than one
Striding for others
Not to see who is the first one done
A sea of red as we ran  the trail
ots of talking and laughter so no one would bail
While we were running we did the wave
But deep down knowing we're not the most brave
The people whose lives are a constant struggle
The loved ones who give support and schedules they  juggle
Our steps forward uniting for a cause
Our Running Reverend reminding us to pause
Take a moment around you
Think about what you do
Helping others in need
Should be replaced by greed
The day brought smiles and tears
Lots of laughter, lots of cheers
So humbled by the people rooting for us
Emotions ran high, too hard to discuss
To top all of that, although I was glad
I was tethtered together right behind my DAD
His first half marathon is now complete
Sharing that moment was quite a treat
I am so happy and oh so proud
that he did this feat-I am wowed